I like to grow my cucumbers vertically, and this year I’m trying squash as well. I became really frustrated trying to grow up tripods made from bamboo. They always seemed to collapse with a full load or during a storm – we have some pretty strong winds here. So, I decided to make some rustic obelisks or cages.
I keep a store of branches in and behind my shed for making such things – trellises, too. I collect the branches from neighbors’ curb sides after storms or clean ups, and from our local dump.
For the obelisk shapes I started by making two separate “ladders” using two power drills (one for drilling and one for securing), and varying lengths of decking screws.
I then connected the ladders by adding a cross piece so that I had a square shape to work with.
Then I began adding more cross sections horizontally and diagonally for sturdiness. The branches naturally dictate where they should go and how they should connect. This one is ready to go out in the Potager. It is fairly heavy but I sink the legs into the ground a few inches anyway.
I found some biodegradable netting that I can put in my compost after the season which I will drape over this to help the vines climb.
The obelisk on the left, for squash and peas, I completed (smartly) last fall. You can see the netting draped over it. The one on the right, for cucumbers, I just finished and still need to add my netting. I planted my cucumbers late but they are already sprouting and should be climbing in no time.
I am really happy with these. They stand up to the wind and (hopefully) a heavy load of veggies. I can leave them in place for the winter and their shadows look pretty against the snow. I could also use these for tomato cages as I like to rotate my crops from year to year. I also like the rustic feel of the branches. We are fairly close to the Adirondacks here, and only ten minutes from Canada, and this style seems to create a more natural sense of place than bamboo.
I suggest you try creating your own vegetable supports with materials in your area. You will be satisfied with the results and the price.